March 09, 2018 10:35 AM

At the heart of ongoing drama between former Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee and his son Brandon is a long and painful history between the rocker and ex-wife — and Brandon’s mother — Pamela Anderson.

Lee, 55, and Brandon, 21, made headlines this week following a domestic dispute that left Lee in the hospital. In the aftermath Brandon told PEOPLE the altercation was related to Lee’s alleged alcoholism, while Lee quickly denied the claims, saying, “I’m happier than I’ve been in my life. I have a few drinks here and there.”

Still sources say Pamela Anderson, 50, who recently opened up to Piers Morgan about reportedly being abused by Tommy Lee during their three-year marriage, plays a key role in the fight.

“[Tommy] feels like Pamela crossed a line by going out of her way to reference something that happened over 20 years ago, the most humiliating time of your life and such a sensitive subject that was painful for everyone,” says a Lee source of the former Baywatch star’s interview on Morgan’s ITV series Life Stories. Lee responded with a series of tweets about Anderson, which sources claim to be the catalyst for the fight between him and Brandon.

Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee in 2015
Todd Williamson/Getty

During her interview Anderson rehashes details of her tumultuous on-again, off-again relationship with Lee. Married on Feb. 19, 1995, the popular pair embarked on a headline-fueling rollercoaster that included ups, like welcoming their two sons Brandon in 1996 and Dylan in 1997, and downs, like the years-long court battle they fought after one of their homemade sex tapes was stolen and leaked by a disgruntled employee.

But their lowest point was undeniably a 1998 domestic dispute. Lee was sentenced to six months in the Los Angeles County Jail for spousal battery following an assault that left Anderson with bruises and a torn fingernail. She was reportedly holding their infant son, Dylan (now 20) at the time and Brandon reportedly witnessed it all. Lee pled no contest to the charges.

Related Video: Proud Mom Pamela Anderson Hits the Red Carpet With 21-Year-Old Son Brandon Lee

“It’s like, why,” wonders the Lee source of Anderson’s motives in resurfacing the incident. “Everyone’s in a good place now. He’s happily engaged, the kids are working on their careers. Why when things are great does Pam spend her time going on TV rehashing a destructive, sensitive story. She wound everyone up.”

But a family source contends that things aren’t so great for Lee these days. “Everyone has been concerned for over a year about Tommy Lee,” says a family friend who says Brandon’s claim that Lee suffers from alcoholism is true. “The kid is really concerned about his dad. And he had enough and he was concerned for his mom.”

Pamela Anderson, baby Brandon and Tommy Lee
Steve Granitz Archive/WireImage

On Thursday, Anderson, 50, released a lengthy statement posted to her website in which she weighed in on the recent family drama.

“I pray Tommy gets the help he needs. His actions are desperate and humiliating,” Anderson said. “He is a disaster spinning out of control. … I will never talk to Tommy again before he is sober and in his right mind. … This is the Devil – This is the disease of alcoholism.”

In short order, Lee responded to Anderson with a detailed statement of his own to TMZ. “No matter how much people wanna pin me as this deviant alcoholic abuser, that isn’t me,” he wrote in statement shared with TMZ, adding, “I’m a happy fun-loving guy.”

  • With additional reporting by LIZ McNEIL

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